End Of Season Summary 2014

Tim-20142014 has been a mixed year for me on the bike; with some great highs and some pretty significant lows.

The highs include such moments as winning the Team GC at the Ras de Cymru with Team Wiggle. The lows included moments like being sat at the side of the road, bruised, blooded and head in hands, having crashed for the fourth time in the space of a few months. Let's call it a Yo-Yo year.

2014 has been my first year of full-time work, and that kind of change brought a lot of uncertainty about how things would pan out in terms of racing and training. Long gone are the university days when I could grab a few hours on the bike in the middle of the day; now my training consists of commuting and weekend rides back on the Isle of Wight. Racing was going to be a question mark as well; with the move to Team Wiggle from Wightlink RT making travelling to events from home more difficult and at times prohibitively expensive or unattractive due to a lack of companionship.

It's been a year of change, but there has been good change as well. The move to Team Wiggle has seen me racing on a fantastic new team bike, the Felt F2. It has also opened the door to new opportunities and support to race further afield, and I've raced more in Wales and the Cotswolds than I have on the South Coast this year! These changes took some time to materialise and in some ways that contributed to my rather slow start to the season; the good news is that they are all in place now and ready for a strong 2015.

In terms of race results, they've been a bit thin on the ground and fairly average for 2014. The season started with a significant downer, when there was a horrendous crash at the Mountbatten Circuit during our E.1.2 race; it left a number of riders badly injured and tragically one died in hospital in the days after the race. The circuit is now permanently closed to racing, which immediately chopped out a high proportion of my mid-week racing. The early season continued to be rather unsettled; a crash on a oil slicked roundabout during training put 10 stitches in my chin, and a bout of tonsillitis and another crash mountain biking in Provence only added to injury.

Things got a bit more back on track by June, with the Wiggle Dragon Ride providing a good result for me. Then the Yo-Yo continued, when I crashed a brand new team bike in the later part of June and was left with two hips covered in road rash and a broken frame. That crash was the week before the Ras de Cymru, but I managed to pull through and help the team take the Team GC prize, as well as the Points jersey. The ups and downs continued...
Ras-de-cymru
Fun times at the Ras de Cyrmu
I took a bit of time off in July, and went away to France for a week sailing. The break was good for me, but then almost as soon as I returned to hard training I came down with a second bout of tonsillitis. Nice.

14 Hills Killer
Racing commenced again in late August, when I raced up in the Cotswolds in the Malmesbury Road Race and then the following week at the Cricklade Kermesse. I was still under the weather a bit for the first of these, and didn't really have the legs. I took ninth in the Cricklade Kermesse though, after a long breakaway with a select group of riders. Things were looking up, even if it was the tail end of the season.

I finished racing with the 14 Hills Killer event back on the Isle of Wight. It was great to be racing off-road again and I took the win by 40 minutes over the second placed rider. It left me keen for more off-road racing next year.

Now starts the off season, winter training and a look towards 2015. Going into 2015, I'll be taking over the management of the Team Wiggle staff riders, and we have a lot of great plans in terms of events and targets for 2015. For me personally, it includes racing more in the Surrey League, travelling to Jersey in June for the Island Games, and also racing more off-road races to broaden my calendar. It should be a far more structured and productive year I hope, and having let my second category licence slip away from me this year, I will be aiming to get it back as soon as possible.

In essence, a lot of the set-backs that I've seen in 2014 have been hurdles that I've now overcome. It's not been all bad, but there have been some rather aggravating moments and it certainly hasn't been my best racing season. 2015 looks to be a lot better though, and I have a number of targets that I think I can reach and better. The most important thing of course, is that I've never stopped enjoying riding my bike. I hope you've continued to enjoy reading the blog, lots more to come in the next few months and the new year!

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